The recent heavy snow fall gave us a good reason to get the horses hitched to the snow dump to do some snow clearing. We harnessed Marta and Nell allowed the colt Leucan free to follow the other two to the harness area and then on the way back up, when we got to the gate, he was locked in with the older team, Wimpy and Marie, the first time we have separated him from his mother. A minute or so of nickering then the mare Marie stayed with him and that seemed to calm him down and all the while the team was working, he happily ate hay with the others. Nell and Marta, with a bit of difficulty, were hitched to the snow dump to clear the snow from our laneway. they were anxious to go nd would not stand calmly most especially Marta. They worked well though, no problems, except that they did not want to stop for a rest and any attempt to do so had them shuffling, wanting to get going. Aerron, who was doing the driving, after a while took them out to the end of the lane and onto the road to turn around and come back into clear the lane. I watched them, noticing that Nell was stepping very carefully, very short steps, and I did not actually look at Marta but it seemed from the corner of my eye that she was stepping longer … then, in the blink of an eye Marta slipped and went down … not hard, but right down on her haunches and directly on the wooden pole which, under 1800 pounds of horse, snapped into two pieces. Marta went down but was up immediately. Aerron maintained control with out any great difficulty but it was somewhat difficult to drag the snow dump off the road and out of the way beside the laneway. Got that done and the horses were unhitched, snow clearing with the horses finished ’til we can repair or replace the pole. No one was hurt and the horses though a little rattled calmed down quickly and it ended well. A broken but repairable piece of equipment and horses not in the least injured. Leucan was quite happy to see mum and auntie come back. we were pleased the way the horses handled. They need more practice, but they’ll be o.k.
We had cleared two thirds or so of the lane and we finished the rest on Tuesday with shovels. Our exciting adventure for this week. The chickens have stayed inside this week. Mostly I keep the doors to the hen house closed but even when open the hens stay put but stay away from the door. The best thing about the chickens staying inside has been the very good egg laying rate over the past week. It is about the best egg laying rate that we could expect.
We are feeding the chickens mostly the commercial layer ration which contains a lot of corn and soybean but we are also giving them whole grains, usually wheat that have been sprouted for about 7 to 10 days. This gives them a nice green leaf about 1 to two inches long as well as the berry. We also give them vegetable scraps and trimmings. All this gives them needed vitamins along with the necessary protein for egg production. The grain also gives them fibre which makes the hens much healthier too.
So we believe that their diet and the comfortable (all things are relative) chicken house, are making for happy, healthy productive hens.